Si­lence Your­self Sav­ages Re­mote Con­trol ★★★★✩

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

THIS all-fe­male Lon­don quar­tet is the new dar­ling of post-punk, but be­fore we get to the new it’s worth ac­knowl­edg­ing the old that has in­spired its 38-minute as­sault on the senses. Singer Jehnny Beth has ab­sorbed Siouxsie Sioux and Patti Smith on her way to fronting Sav­ages, with the for­mer the most con­stant pres­ence in Beth’s pre­dom­i­nantly angst-rid­den de­liv­ery. Her col­leagues Gemma Thomp­son (gui­tar), Ayse Has­san (bass) and Fay Mil­ton (drums) cre­ate a sin­is­ter throb around her, par­tic­u­larly Has­san, whose melodic, punchy basslines drive most of the 11 songs. That’s par­tic­u­larly ap­par­ent on the mid-paced Strife and the open­ing Shut Up, which is pre­ceded by a clip of dia­logue from the John Cas­savetes film Open­ing

Night. ‘‘ How old are you re­ally?’’ says a voice. The age ref­er­ence is a re­cur­ring theme on th­ese twisted tales of ado­les­cent rage, be­wil­der­ment and as­sertive­ness. City’s Full is a glow­ing ex­am­ple, set over rum­bling drums, flow­ing bass and chug­ging gui­tars, with Beth cocky and threat­en­ing and just a lit­tle charm­ing on a song be­moan­ing ‘‘ skinny pretty girls’’ and their ‘‘ sissy pretty love’’. She’s en­gag­ing too on Strife, adding a co­quet­tish­ness to the line ‘‘ how come I’ve been do­ing things with you I would never tell my mum?’’ be­fore the song breaks down into a stark, psy­che­delic wash. The over­all mood of Si­lence Your­self is threat­en­ing, a lit­tle mis­chievous and re­lent­lessly ex­cit­ing; just what the rock ’ n’ roll doc­tor or­dered.

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